Getting your tent ready for the season
Summer is almost here. The kids will be out of school, vacation time is building up and you’re ready to go camping. But is your tent ready too? Check out these simple yet important tips to make sure your tent is as trail ready as you are.
Not everyone is a year round camper. This means the majority of tents spend the off season sitting in storage. Unfortunately sitting unused can be as damaging as life on the trail so you need to give everything the once over before the season kicks off. Even a well-cared for tent could benefit from some pre-season TLC.
Home (trial) Run
The first thing you need to do is set up your tent at home ahead of your first trip. Doing this accomplishes several different checks all at the same time:
a. Ensures you still remember how to set up the tent you will be using. Don’t laugh, lots of people get to the campsite and realize they don’t remember how to put all the pieces, parts and fabric into something resembling a tent.
b. Lets you identify any broken or missing pieces.
c. Allows you to check zippers, snaps, ties and flaps to makes sure all are in working order.
d. Makes it easier to see any rips or tears needing attention.
Even if your tent was put away clean it has been sitting in storage for months. This is bound to result in some dirtying and even mildew forming. Once you have erected the tent use a soft , dry cloth to wipe down all the surfaces identifying any stains or mildew needing further attention. Give the floor a good sweeping as well and consider washing it to ensure you start the season at 100%. Finally, open all the doors, flaps and windows and allow everything to air dry.
Checking for Leaks
One of the biggest concerns for any tent is the possibility of leaks. A leaky tent can ruin an otherwise enjoyable trip so it’s vital you address it beforehand. While the tent is set up you are going to let it get wet and look for leaks. If rain is predicted simply leave the tent out during the storm and inspect it afterwards. If rain is not predicted, or if you simply do not feel like waiting, spray the tent with a garden hose on the mist setting. Either way the goal is to get the tent wet, really wet, so you can look for leaks at the seams, pole connections etc.
Fixing what you find
1. Small Tears- even the strongest tent will occasionally develop a hole or tear. It’s not the end of the world but it does need to be fixed.
a. Clean both side of fabric in 1 “ of hole.
b. Cut 2 self-adhesive patches large enough to cover hole AND extend 1 inch on each side.
c. Apply 1 patch to outside of holes and one to inside of hole.
d. For extra protection apply liquid seam sealer to outer edges of repair patch
2. Leaks – Most tent seams or sealed with tape, this works well and lasts longer than other methods but eventually everything wears out. If you have a leak in the seam of your tent here’s how you fix it .
a. With tent set up in bright sunny location inspect for loose or pealing tape.
b. Remove all pealing tape, but leave salvageable tape in place.
c. Apply liquid seam sealer to outside of all seams and let dry